Chiba is a city with a rich history and culture and paying a visit to the Chiba City Folk Museum is one of the best ways to get to know more about it. Built on the site where Chiba castle once stood, the white colored museum building draws inspiration from the original castle. The museum gives insight into the history of the Chiba Clan that dates as far as the 12th Century and also sheds light on the city's modern history. From Samurai armors, weaponry to a replica of a 13th-century Japanese home, the exhibits are very interesting. The museum also holds the Arquebus firearms demonstration every August. Here, you can also try the traditional Samurai robes on the third Saturday of every month except for January and August. During the cherry blossom season, the castle with the pink trees around is a sight to behold.
Ever wondered how Japanese houses and shops looked decades ago? Well, here is your chance to gain knowledge. Much of Tokyo's architectural heritage had been destroyed in the Great Kanto earthquake and the World War II bombings. In order to retrieve its past, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government established the Tatemono-en (open air architectural museum) as part of the Edo-Tokyo museum in 1993. The museum has 27 buildings (with plans for four more) that run along small streets and span architectural time-lines from the mid-Edo period through the mid-Showa. Do not miss the Tsunashima family's thatched-roof farmhouse, the old post box, the top of the watchtower from the Ueno Fire Station and the bricks from Ginza Brick Town. Walk through the streets and take history lessons! Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum closes every Monday (When Monday is a national holiday, closes on the following day.)
Located in a nostalgic area of Tokyo, the collection is housed in the former residence of Fumio Asakura (1883-1964). In 1948, Asakura was awarded the Order of Culture. In government-backed shows, he often won prizes. Animals, figures and portraits executed in plaster and bronze give the visitor an historical overview of Japan's contribution to Western-style sculpture. The garden which is dominated by a pond is delightful, as there is something enchanting blooming throughout the year.
Artwork from one of Japan's best-known illustrators of children's books forms the bulk of the museum's collection. Primarily a memorial to Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974) the museum was founded in 1977 on the site of her studio (which has been restored). The collection includes examples of her personal books and correspondence. Displays are changed six times a year. The permanent collection consists of some 8,000 original works, including early sketches. Recently, the museum has sponsored exhibits featuring picture books from overseas artists as well as other Japanese illustrators.
Lixil Gallery is located on the 2nd floor of the Tokyo Tatemono Kyobashi building. It plays a crucial role in taking emerging artists under its wing, and giving them a platform to showcase their artworks. Established in 1982, the trendy place boasts an eclectic repertoire of exhibitions all year round so check website for details. At this same floor, you can also see contemporary ceramic-artworks at Galleria Ceramica.
Medical scientists avail themselves of this research facility to continue the experiments of Satoru Kamegai, the facility's founder. On the first floor the visitor can view uncommon infectious bugs while the second floor is dedicated to parasites. Noteworthy specimens are displayed on panels, e.g. tapeworms whose length can reach many meters. Information on parasites related to malaria is another attraction. This is certainly the place to explore any thoughts you may have had about the effects of a parasite invasion on your own body!
The Mitsui Memorial Museum houses priceless paintings and other works of art that have been wonderfully preserved by the Mitsui family. One can get a deep insight into Japanese culture over the centuries. Check website for details of upcoming events.
The largest room in the museum concentrates on Japanese artifacts. China is also well represented in a separate section where there are statues from the Han and Tang dynasties. Many pieces from the collection are the result of Meiji University's active on-site excavation programs both in Japan and overseas. Admission is free.
Japanese artists brought Western romanticism into their own native styles during the Taisho Period (1912-1926). One of Japan's most famous artists, Okayama-born painter Yumeji (1884-1934) played an important role in this movement. Takehisa Yumeji is now remembered for his prints, but the museum has also amassed a collection of his oils and watercolors. One of the common themes in his paintings is beautiful women (bijin-ga).
Conveniently located in the Bunkyo-ku area of Tokyo, the Printing Museum offers an insightful peek into the exciting history of printing over the ages . Printing played an important role in shaping the way communication was disseminated over the centuries, as can be seen through the fascinating exhibits. Visitors can enroll in any of the Mandarin, Korean or English workshops which vary depending on one's level or prior knowledge of printing. Check website for a list of upcoming exhibitions and permanent exhibits.